Our Five Ring Circus: December 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Good Year


2014 was an amazing year for my family! 

We didn't go on a vacation, have a baby, or buy anything exciting.  It was, however, a year full of love, fun, and good health.  On this last day of 2014, we are all together, and every person we love is healthy, happy, and alive.  I call that a win!!!

2014 began with an expected layoff for Grant in January, due to his company being bought.  He had another job lined up, but his start date wasn't until the end of May.  Thankfully, we were able to live off savings, and he had a chance to spend lots of time with our family! 

As the months went by, we learned more about Down Syndrome and we fell even more in love with our amazing little boy!  We learned that Down Syndrome really isn't a huge deal.  Liam is happy, and he is just as healthy as a "typical" child.  He is pure joy and pure love!  WE are the ones who are blessed to have him in our lives.  We have so much hope for his future.  Our sweet boy can brighten any bad day!

Grant and I started to make more time for each other, and our marriage is so good right now. I truly believe Liam made our marriage stronger.  We are in this together!

We spent a lot of time with Dylan, Lexie, Lily, and Liam.  I am so thankful for every single day I get to spend with these special kids.  They are beautiful, inside and out!

We learned that family and good friends are what matter most in life.  We are surrounded by a strong support system, and that is such a blessing! We spent most of our time with family and friends in 2014, and we made so many wonderful memories! 

The year ended perfectly. 

After 6 months of hard work at his new company, Grant got a promotion right before Christmas!  He is such a hard worker, and truly cares about the company he works for.  I am so proud of him, and this is so good for him and our family!

We had THE best Christmas with our amazing family! Everything was perfect and the holiday was full of love.

We are ending the year with our closest friends, who are like family to us. We are going to have a lot of fun celebrating a great year and ringing in a new year!

Thank you for being so kind to us, 2014.  I'm praying 2015 is just as happy and wonderful!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

All Hail...King Julien!!!

December was a busy month for us!  We had something to do almost every day, but we still made time for Holiday shows on Netflix.  We celebrate Christmas until January 6th, so we're still enjoying Christmas movies and episodes!

One of our favorite things to do as a family is gather for Family Movie Night once a week.  We all look forward to our weekly date.  It's a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend time together. During the holiday season, we upped our Family Movie Nights to three times a week just to fit everything in!

Although we focused on Christmas during the month of December, we always watch a wide variety of movies. One of our favorite family movies is Madagascar.  King Julien was always our favorite character, and "I like to move it, move it!!!!" gets stuck in our heads every single time!  (You're welcome!)

We are so excited that King Julien has his own show now!!! All Hail King Julien, which stars our favorite character, is an original new series that premiered on Netflix on December 19th!

All Hail King Julien

We finally had the chance to check it out after Christmas. Dylan, Lexie, and Lily loved it!  It's not often that I find a show that entertains a 10 year old, 7 year old, and 3 year old, but this one did. They laughed and danced their way through the first episode! I joined in, too!


Dylan and Lexie scored the show at a solid 10 on a 0-10 likability scale, claiming it was hilarious.  Lily, who is our little clown, said she liked the show because she could dance to the music and because the little guy was funny!

The first 5 episodes of All Hail King Julien can be found on Netflix right now.  At just 23 minutes each, they are the perfect length to hold the attention of kids of all ages!  We can't wait to watch more!

In just a few days, we're going to be ringing in 2015 with our friends!  Netflix sent a King Julien Party Kit to help us celebrate! My kids are so excited to party with their friends. It's going to be a WILD party, because we'll be partying with the family of another StreamTeam member!


Our kids are party animals, but many kids can't quite make it until midnight.  No problem!  King Julien is hosting his own countdown special so your family can celebrate any time of day or night!  How cool is that?!?

I know one kid that might not make it until midnight...


The rest of us?  Ready to party!!!


If you are like us, and still feeling the holiday spirit, check out these selections:


Curious George
in search of santa

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1. Love Actually
2. The Office: S02E10 Christmas Party
3. Christmas with the Kranks
4. Arrested Development: S02E06 Afternoon Delight

Grant and I will be watching Love Actually one night this week.  It's a great movie, but we haven't watched it in years!  We love Family Movie Night, but we also love to have Netflix Date Nights after our kids go to bed!

Currently, during our Netflix date nights, we are watching The Office the entire way through. The Christmas Party episode is hilarious!  I'm so glad we had the chance to watch it before Christmas, but it's funny enough to watch year round! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season!  From my family to you and yours: Happy New Year!!!

Check back in a few days to see how we rang in the New Year!

*I'm a member of the Netflix StreamTeam.  I was given a free year of Netflix Streaming in exchange for my review.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Party Hop

Another Christmas has come and gone!  I swear, it goes by faster every year!

The month of December was so busy, but so much fun!  We had a great holiday season and a wonderful Christmas. I'm looking forward to some down time so I can finally go through my 1000+ pictures, and share our memories!

On December 13th, after a Pictures with Santa event, we had our annual Christmas Party with our friends. We look forward to it every year!

My friend, Amber, started this tradition many years ago.  At that time, our group of friends only had 4 children, including Dylan.  As the years passed, we met new friends and added them to our group, and we all had more children.  Now, we have quite the crew!


(Audrey, the oldest in the group, was missing from these pictures, but joined us later for another group photo!)

We started off the party with the gift exchange between the kids.  Each child buys for one of their friends, and they take turns opening their gifts, starting with the youngest.  The baby/babies celebrating their first Christmas always get gifts from everyone.  This year, it was Amelia's first Christmas, so she kicked off the fun!


The kids loved watching each other open gifts, and they were all happy with what they received!

Amy and her family had somewhere else to go, so we attempted a few pictures of the babies in front of the tree before they left.  Attempted being the key word!  It was pretty much impossible!


I love the outtakes the most!  Liam quickly realized that he was the only one who didn't have food, and tried everything to get a bite.  The sequence of the pictures was perfect!

Step 1: Spot brownie.
Step 2: Reach for brownie.
Step 3: Try to grab brownie out of friend's hand.
Step 4: Try to grab brownie out of friend's mouth.
Step 5: Give up and laugh for a second.
Step 6: Get a bite from friend.  (Violet's expression!!!)
Step 7: SUCCESS!
Step 8: Chase friend across the room for more!


After Amy and her family left, we all sat down for a delicious dinner.  Shortly after dinner, Lily fell asleep for a much needed nap in Charlie's bed.  The rest of the kids were occupied, so we tried to fit in a quick photo session in the basement.


Everything was going great until Liam hit his head.  He was consoled, but as soon as I sat him back down, he started crying.   Photoshoot over...but the last four pictures were so funny! Liam rarely cries, but when he does, his expressions are epic!


The moment I sat Liam down upstairs, the smile returned to his face!


Lily woke up from her LONG nap and began playing with her friends, the boys played for hours, the babies played in the living room while we talked, and the older girls baked cookies.  We had such a fun night!


I love these kids SO much! This tradition started with 4 kids, and ended up like this. We are so lucky to have each other!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Do You Wanna Win Some Netflix?

I can't believe there are only 3 days until Christmas!  I love this time of year so much, but it always feels like it arrives way too quickly.  I could use another week to prepare!

That being said, I'm so excited about Christmas this year.  I can't wait to spend time with my wonderful family! My kids are bursting with joy, which makes this time of year even more special!

In the spirit of giving, I have a wonderful gift for one of my readers!

It's no secret that I love Netflix!  We watch something on Netflix almost every day, including many of their original series, and I absolutely love being a member of their Stream Team!

 Netflix #StreamTeam

Netflix graciously sent me two complimentary 1 year memberships to Netflix streaming to give to two people of my choosing.  I decided to give one membership to a deserving family I know, and give one membership to one of my readers!  I am so thankful for all my loyal readers and all the friends I met through blogging! 

I can't think of a more fun gift than the gift of entertainment for a year!  From laughter to tears, and everything in between, Netflix has it!


Up for grabs is ONE complimentary 1 year membership to Netflix streaming!  Entering is easy.  Simply choose one option from the rafflecopter widget below or enter as many options as you want to up your chances! The giveaway begins today and will end on December 30th at 12:00 AM.  Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For another chance to win, please visit my dear friend Steph's blog!

*I was given two complimentary 1 year memberships to Netflix streaming to give as gifts.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Liam at 15 Months

Liam Dayne
15 Months
16 1/2 lbs
29 inches


Milestones:  He's finally crawling properly!!! He started right after I posted his 14 month update.  He's now crawling and cruising quickly and getting into everything.  He can cruise one handed, and his balance is much better.  Walking independently is the next step!


Tooth Count: 3, and one on the way.


Eating: 3 meals a day, 2 snacks, drinking from a straw cup, and nursing morning and night.


Favorite Foods:  Bananas, oranges, grapes, strawberries, nutrigrain bars, puffs, lil' crunchies (Gerber), yogurt melts, pasta with red sauce, macaroni and cheese, tapioca pudding, and carrots.


Sleeping:  12-14 hours every night without waking, plus one long nap and usually a short nap that takes place while running errands.  Still a great sleeper!


Sounds/Words:  Mama, Dada, Uh-Oh, Baba, Oooo, Ahhh, Nana.  He barks when he hears a dog bark, growls, and blow raspberries a lot. Signs more and eat. Constantly babbles and sings.  He is starting to mimic a lot of sounds, thanks to speech therapy!


Likes:  Eating, nursing, snuggling, reading books, playing, getting into things he isn't supposed to touch, speech therapy sessions, ripping apart the Christmas Tree, and taking baths.


Dislikes:  Messy diapers, feeling cold, getting his face wiped, being forced to do things he doesn't want to do (PT sessions!), and bumping his head.


Favorite Toys:  Play kitchen, Leapfrog Cook and Play Potsy, Little People, Fisher Price activity puzzle, foam letter mat, and books.


Nicknames: Miam and Little Dude.


Health:  100% healthy!  No health concerns whatsoever!

Someone is super excited about no therapy this week! Instead, he gets to focus on destroying the house! #trouble

Early Intervention:  Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Therapy.  An hour long session for each type of therapy, in our home, once a week. He got Sure Steps to help with proper foot placement when he stands, but he only wears them during therapy.   Right before we got them, he started standing with his foot placed properly on the ground! It figures!

We just picked up Liam's SureSteps today.  They're so tiny; one of the smallest pairs the man said he ever fitted on a child!  He doesn't roll his ankles inward, which is what they're intended to correct, but he had the tendency to balance on his toes or

Wearing:  Mostly 3-6 month clothing, but some 6-9 month items, too. 0-3 month onesies still fit.  Size 1 shoes. Size 2 diapers. His last meal, most of the time.


Personality:  He is the happiest child I've ever met.  His smile says it all!